(photo via NBC News)
The long-running morning show Today is causing a stir on social media after implying that nursing is a low-skill profession on air.
On Friday, Today aired a segment called On The Money focusing on job search tips. Stephanie Ruhle, NBC’s Senior Business Analyst, led the conversation as she highlighted jobs that are facing shortages.
In the clip, Ruhle states, “Places where you can consider lower–you know–lower skills: trucking, e-commerce–you might say, ‘I want to change jobs, I want to go into nursing, I want to be a teacher.’ That’s a great idea. Those, of course, require a lot more training, so a way that you can kind of start in that space: get yourself a job as a home healthcare worker, working in a school. Start to figure out, ‘Is that an industry I’m interested in?’”
The full clip can be viewed here.
Nurses React on Social Media
Nurses have taken to social media to express their frustration over Ruhle’s statements.
One Instagram user posted a Reel of her filming the clip on her personal device, calling the segment “a media campaign against nurses.”
The comment section is filled with nurses on both sides of the argument. While some nurses are arguing that Ruhle technically didn’t call nursing a low-skill job outright, others are adamant that the implication is clear simply by being included on the list.
There are other elements of Ruhle’s speech that are further upsetting nurses. Some are annoyed that Ruhle seemed to imply that nursing is an easy second career choice, while others are insulted that she suggested home health as an uncomplicated specialty to test the nursing waters.
- For example, one Instagram user commented, “The way I hear her is that she is talking about low skilled jobs in general, but within these low skilled jobs, nurses and teachers would need more training.”
- Another commenter agreed, stating, “How insulting. Comparing a truck driver to a nurse as [a] lower skill set career…Four years of education and training is the equivalent of a truck driver?”
- Other commenters shared similar sentiments, calling Ruhle’s words “insulting” and “a slap in the face of the nursing profession.”
- Another user defended home health nursing and its challenges, commenting, “First of all, the sign behind her is a joke. You can literally graduate high school and do all the following except nursing!…Home health is way more involved than bedside…You are completely on your own with no backup, performing the same skills you would in a hospital setting…[and] not knowing the type of environment you’re walking into.”
Stephanie Ruhle’s Response
After a few users confronted Ruhle in the comments of Today’s tweet about the segment, Ruhle posted the following response:
Not everyone was satisfied with this reply. Soon after Ruhle’s response was posted, this Twitter user countered with:
- Ms. Ruhle you might want to be a bit more careful with your words. I felt very skilled the years I’ve worked on the covid floor, in the icu and in the neonatal intensive care unit. I’m trained to save adults as well as babies. Out of the two of us one saves lives and it’s not you.
Another user agreed, commenting:
- Insane to lump nursing with truck driving. Just asinine.
Education and Training Requirements For Nurses
When considering pathways to becoming a nurse, first you have to decide which type of nurse you want to be: a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or a Registered Nurse (RN).
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) do not require a degree to practice, but they do require the completion of an LPN certification program and a successful score on the NCLEX-PN licensure exam. This is the shortest path to becoming a nurse, as most LPN programs take about a year to complete. LPNs are limited in their scope of practice and cannot perform all of the same duties as a Registered Nurse. They also work under the supervision of one or more RNs.
Registered Nurses (RN) require a minimum of an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ASN), although a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN) is the more popular route and is generally more desired by employers. Completion of an ASN program usually takes between 18 months to 2 years of full-time study. BSN programs take 3-4 years to complete, depending on whether it is a traditional versus an accelerated program. After successful completion of either an ASN or BSN program, you must pass the NCLEX-RN licensure exam in order to become a Registered Nurse.
Is Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant A Good Gateway Into Nursing?
For many aspiring nurses, becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is a great way to decide if going to nursing school is the right path for them. CNAs work directly with patients, providing basic care such as feeding, toileting, and hygiene. Becoming a CNA allows you to experience patient care first-hand before deciding to take the leap into a nursing program.
To become a CNA, you must complete a CNA course and receive a certification. CNAs do not hold a license and work under the supervision of LPNs and/or RNs. Many CNAs choose to continue working while also pursuing a nursing degree.